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Serve

. 4 min read

2015/06/14
Christ Church, Mountain Top; recognize college/other grads
Call
to Worship, Psalm 113
Children,
Mark 10.13-16
Message,
Mark 10.17-52
Jesus’ vision of leadership in this
string of stories, one pearl to
another:
      Jesus welcomes children that the disciples
reject (10.13-16)
      Jesus speaks of the impossible path to
eternal life (10.17-31)
      Jesus speaks of the inconceivable path to
his own death (10.32-34)
      James and John request greatness and glory
(10.35-45)
      Bartimaeus the blind beggar requests
healing (10.46-52)
Echoes:
      “Many who are first will be last, and the
last will be first” (10.31)
      “Whoever wishes to be first among you must
be slave of all” (10.44)
            Same Greek word for “first”
      “What is it you want me to do for you?”
(10.36)
      “What do you want me to do for you?”
(10.51)
            Same Greek phrase (except for
singular/plural forms)
      “Speaking sternly” (same Greek verb for
“rebuke”, “warn”)
      Denial of access/service, of children by
the disciples, “spoke sternly” (10.13)
      Denial of access/service, of the beggar by
the crowd, “sternly ordered to be quiet” (10.48)
The heart of the matter: Mark 10:42-45
You
know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it
over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among
you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and
whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man
came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.

1. Serve the greatness of others,
especially the least
      The “denial of service” attacks on the
heart of Jesus
            Children and the blind beggar
      Disciples: children are too trivial …
Jesus: indignant
      People: beggars are too disorderly … Jesus:
called him
            “What do you want me to do for you?”
(10.51)
            Jesus served the greatness of the
least
      Colin Powell, It Worked for Me:
Lincoln,
receiving the news from the telegraph operator that Confederate forces had
captured a brigadier general and 100 horses … “It is hard to lose those horses
… I can make a brigadier general in five minutes.” (audio book, probably in
chapters 29-32)
                  It’s all about the horses, not
the head
            “No trivial people, but there are
trivial leaders”
2. Sell out to give your all
      Leave everything behind to enter eternal
life (Mk 10.17-31)
      Colin Powell:
            2nd Lieut to General:
“How do you make general?”
            General
to 2nd Lieut: “That’s how you make first lieutenant”
      By the way, “eternal life” is more valuable
than being general!
3. Go second, not first
      “Last” is second to the person next to you
who is your rival
            For attention, status, place in the
line
      Jesus: impossible path to eternal life,
inconceivable path to his death
            Theological pair:
                  Only
when he put himself, his life, SECOND could we live
            In that context, the disciples are
vying to be FIRST.
                  “They began to be angry with
James and John” (10.41)
                  Not out of concern for Jesus
and his death
                  Focused on being FIRST
      Colin Powell:
Parking
at the state department (lot too small, attendants park everyone in) … who gets
to be at the front of the line?
Secular
leadership literature now refers to the concept of “servant leadership”. But
this practice is not simply about what works, though it does. That may be so
for some leaders, but for disciples of Jesus this is far too cynical.
We
serve the greatness of others because it is what Jesus does
We
sell out to give your all because Jesus did that for us
We
go second, not first, because Jesus put us first.

Jesus
serves us in his death, Jesus serves us even today with his prayers and through
the Spirit.